Dec/09/13 10:00 PM Filed in: Lamar Miller
DAVIE Dolphins starting tailback Lamar Miller must pass an NFL mandated baseline concussion test before he'll be cleared to return to the practice field this week.
Miller, who left Sunday's 34-28 win over the Steelers because of a concussion he suffered in the third quarter, is the second Dolphins player to suffer a head injury the past two weeks.
Starting right guard John Jerry suffered a concussion in Miami's 23-3 win over the Jets and missed all but one practice before playing against the Steelers.
Miller and the Dolphins must follow the league's protocol, which requires Miller's brain activity to match a baseline sample taken from him before this season. The baseline test will be compared with test results taken after Sunday's injury to help assess the severity, and indicate when the symptoms subside.
The Dolphins are optimistic Miller, who leads the team with 567 rushing yards on 142 carries, will be cleared to play in time for Sunday's home game against the New England Patriots. But the season-high 105 rushing yards Daniel Thomas contributed as Miller's replacement on Sunday helps alleviate some concern.
"He really stepped up and made some good plays in the game. He did a good job blocking as well," coach Joe Philbin said of Thomas, who played two weeks after suffering what was initially diagnosed as a torn ligament in his left ankle. "He's a hard-working guy."
Offensive coordinator Mike Sherman acknowledged that the Dolphins initially thought Thomas' season was over because of the ankle injury, but Thomas has pushed his rehab to the point he was able to practice for the first time last Friday. The Dolphins needed Thomas active because of a pectoral injury Miller was nursing last week.
Sherman credited Thomas for being "diligent" in his rehab, but acknowledged that the former Kansas State standout was playing hurt against the Steelers.
"There is a certain amount of mental toughness that plays a part in it," Sherman said of Thomas, who has rushed for 384 yards and scored five touchdowns this season. "He wasn't 100 percent but he played as if he was. There's one thing to play with some pain and another things to play well with some pain, and he certainly played well."
Thomas' participation in this week's practice could be limited because his ankle isn't fully healed. That could lead to Marcus Thigpen and rookie Mike Gillislee handling a heavier workload in practice if Miller isn't cleared to work during the team's three practices this week.